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Big issues in the Irish potato sector are coming home to roost this summer

Richard Hackett writes in Farm Ireland: I began last month’s article by quoting Warren Buffet and his explanation that systemic weaknesses become more apparent during times of trouble (or as he said, ‘only when the tide goes out do you discover who has been swimming naked’). The continuing drought conditions have provided further evidence of the systemic weaknesses in Irish agriculture, particularly[Read[Read More…]

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R.D. Offutt Farms and environmentalists’ potato war in Minnesota may have hit turning point

Maybe it’s just a breather, but the long-simmering controversy between the R.D. Offutt Farms’ potato field expansion project and environmentalists concerned about groundwater and lake pollution in Minnesota may have come to an end or at least reached a turning point. After Minnesota’s Department of Natural Resources gave a two-week notice last week that the Fargo-based company’s irrigation water well permits[Read[Read More…]

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McCain Foods Australia being investigated for “unconscionable conduct towards growers”

A Northern Tasmanian farmer has lashed out at McCain Foods (Australia) over contract potato pricing, as the consumer watchdog begins its investigation into the vegetable processor. The farmer, who has a contract with McCain, doesn’t wish to be identified due to potential backlash, said growers were sick of the low prices they were being paid by the processor for their product. “We[Read[Read More…]

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US: Noted potato expert Joseph Sieczka passed away

Joseph Sieczka was a valued colleague and friend to many in the US and international potato industry. For more than two decades, Mr. Sieczka worked as coordinator at Cornell University’s Long Island Horticultural Research Center in Riverhead, where his research involved various crops, but focused primarily on potatoes. He was a renowned potato expert and had served as president of the Potato[Read[Read More…]

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BASF closes acquisition of businesses and assets from Bayer

BASF has closed the acquisition of a range of businesses and assets from Bayer. The transaction is a strategic complement to BASF’s crop protection, biotech and digital farming activities and marks its entry into seeds, non-selective herbicides and nematicide seed treatments. About 4,500 employees join BASF through the acquisition. The agreements include Bayer’s global glufosinate-ammonium business; seeds businesses including traits, research and[Read[Read More…]

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Scientists discover new knowledge that could provide a method to combat late blight disease

New research from the Birch lab in the University of Dundee’s Division of Plant Sciences, based at the James Hutton Institute, has discovered a mechanism that could combat late blight disease in potato crops. Professor Paul Birch, Head of the Division of Plant Sciences, said: “To be a successful pathogen, microbes need to suppress or otherwise manipulate host defences. To do[Read[Read More…]

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Perfect season: Washington State potato growers struggling to keep up with export demand

The Washington State Potato Commission, headquartered in Moses Lake, WA, has been pleasantly surprised by the weather and its impact on this year’s potato crop. “It started out cooler than normal but has progressed into perfect potato growing weather,” said Chris Voigt, WSPC’s executive director. “Potatoes love warm days and cool nights. It has been perfect with the recent exception of a[Read[Read More…]

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Exhibition space fully booked at Europe’s most specialised indoor trade fair for potatoes and vegetables

INTERPOM PRIMEURS is the most specialised indoor trade fair for the potato and vegetable sector in Europe. The 19th edition of INTERPOM PRIMEURS will be held on Sunday 25 to Tuesday 27 November 2018 in Kortrijk Xpo, Belgium. The event offers a complete and focused range of products and services for all professionals in the potato and vegetable sector from all corners[Read[Read More…]

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Drought stricken: The sad truth of the current disastrous state of arable crops in Germany

After months of drought, temperatures reached 36 degrees in Germany on Tuesday, prompting farmers to demand €1 billion in emergency state aid to cover crop shortfalls. The drought situation is so severe that German farmers are referring to it as a natural disaster that poses a threat to their livelihoods. The idea of a natural disaster will be confirmed by German authorities if more[Read[Read More…]

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At least a quarter of German potato crops doomed to fail this season, Association warns

Sustained high temperatures and a lack of rainfall have hit German farmers hard, including the country’s important potato sector, reports Deutsche Welle (DW). The German Association of the Fruit, Vegetable and Potato Processing Industry (BOGK) warned on Sunday that the ongoing drought means potato harvests will be “dramatically” reduced this year. Out of all the potato products, french fries are likely to be impacted the most,[Read[Read More…]

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Potatoes in Practice looks to the future of tatties

The next generation of the potato industry will debate the future of the humble spud at this year’s Potatoes in Practice. Potatoes in Practice is the largest field-based potato event in the UK, held on Thursday 9th August at Balruddery Farm, Invergowrie, near Dundee. The event is organised and hosted by the James Hutton Institute in partnership with AHDB Potatoes, SRUC[Read[Read More…]

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Canada: Shortage of potatoes leads Cavendish Farms to close fresh packaging facility

Cavendish Farms announced today that they will be focusing on the frozen potato processing business on Prince Edward Island in Canada due to the limited availability of potatoes. The decision will result in the closure of their fresh produce packaging facility in O’Leary, Prince Edward Island at the end of the year. “Cavendish Farms has had to make this difficult business[Read[Read More…]

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US seed potato delegation inspects trials in Morocco

A number of US potato growers visited Morocco recently to see how US potato varieties were performing in that country. The growers were convinced that the varieties are doing well in Morocco, and growers are excited to get more official data after the full harvest, which will happen soon. Attendees also visited the fields and storage facilities of several growers[Read[Read More…]

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Top management changes at McCain Foods (GB)

McCain, the UK’s number one frozen potato brand, has announced that Nick Vermont will be retiring from the business after an outstanding 35-year career at McCain. Howard Snape will replace Nick as regional president, McCain Foods GB and Ireland. Nick steps down having secured a major upgrade of the McCain facilities in Scarborough, following the announcement to invest over £100m[Read[Read More…]

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Ireland: Potatoes stop growing in parched earth

David Rodgers, the second generation of his family growing potatoes in Ballyboughal, and his father have never experienced anything like it. So parched is the earth in this famously lush and fertile north Co Dublin countryside that potatoes are not growing at all. “There is definitely going to be a scarcity of potatoes and vegetables in Ireland, ” he says gloomily, “I think it[Read[Read More…]

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UK: NFU calls agricultural drought summit as heatwave bites

The NFU is seeking urgent action to address the crippling impact of the dry, hot weather on farms across the country. An agricultural drought summit has been called and NFU policy experts and commodity board chairmen will sit down with representatives from other farming organisations, Defra, The Environment Agency, Natural England, the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) and farming charities RABI and[Read[Read More…]

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PAA Symposium: Data, monitoring help fight potato pests worldwide

Early detection and reporting often help keep potato pests in check even if regulators ultimately don’t order eradications and field quarantines as a result. Field data are the lifeblood of so-far successful efforts to isolate and remove major yield-reducing pests in Idaho, New York and various countries, speakers at a July 23 Potato Association of America symposium in Boise said. Idaho potato[Read[Read More…]

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US-China trade war: Idaho may be the biggest victim, but not for its potatoes

Idaho is the state most exposed to fallout from the U.S.-China trade war, even though its most famous product, potatoes, has so far been spared from the wrath of Beijing’s retaliatory strikes, according to a new study. China buys Idaho’s frozen potatoes for its fast-food restaurants. In terms of Idaho’s signature crop, the U.S. Department of Agriculture valued the 2017 Idaho potato[Read[Read More…]

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher of Potato News Today

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